For the Love of Markerboards

I’ve stood in front of markerboards most of my life, odious marker in hand as I desperately try to convey an idea to a peer or poke holes in an idea we’ve come up with. When stumped trying to explain a concept, I naturally reach for a marker to draw it out.

When I start work with a new client or setup a new office, it’s the first thing I look for to setup. If there are none in place, we make a quick stop to go get some.

You cannot replace them with your digital board that loads up your latest tweets and pictures from your vacation.

They cannot be see through or have those print to paper functions on them because that simply wastes time.

The bigger they are, the more room for your ideas to flow from person to person in the room. Whoever has the (working) marker is responsible for the next chain of ideas and events that will stream forward from consciousness to implementation in a matter of seconds.

If you have a smudge on your hands, you know you’ve done well, if there is marker on your sleeve than you’ve done even better.

They are transient and not deserving to having “PLO” written all over them — take a photo — save it for later.

In the end, when you take a step back and look at what you and your team have created a rush of accomplishment crashes over you as you realize your visions are aligned and the team is now ready to make it happen.

Don’t discount this small piece of tactile technology that everyone has tried to replace with some form of digital software or hardware over the past years. I don’t know if any will ever work for the one reason that as developers, product owners, managers, leads etc that we all love to work on markerboards is that it provides us with the tactile break that we need from the digital to the physical — replenishing our minds, spirit and body — preparing us to dive back in.

Perhaps a topic for our podcast that originated from the experience of working in front of markerboards. Whatever the reason, you can’t argue with the value they bring to you and your team when delivering software.

Like what you read? Give Greg Thomas a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.